LGBT PrideFest Moves Forward
Community celebrates this weekend despite setbacks
ANCHORAGE - After years of several setbacks, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community says it’s stronger than ever.
Its main goal over the last few decades has been to be part of the larger community.
But in the last few years, the LGBT community has suffered a few setbacks.
In April, Anchorage voters rejected a ballot proposition that would have extended anti-discrimination protection to LGBT residents.
“We gained a lot of allies, the religious community came out in support more than ever for the gay community, and we gained a lot of straight allies as well,” said Rivera.
Activists say the community is divided by fear.
“We’re afraid to come out, it’s a masculine-driven community, afraid that we’re going to lose, especially, in the church community,” said Jason Ingram, a gay activist.
Last year, a 50-year-old man, James Crump, was struck and killed by the convertible carrying the grand marshal shortly after the PrideFest parade started.
“[It] definitely is tough, especially with what happened last year, but that’s part of the event – we have to continue celebrating ourselves as a community,” said Rivera.
The year before that, in 2010, a float that was supposed to be in the parade was set on fire and destroyed an East Anchorage home.
Despite the obstacles and challenges, PrideFest organizers say they will continue to spread the message of equality.
“I hope that eventually we become more progressive in our mindsets, instead of having a fear mindset; again lots of that has to do with people not having the educational resources that they need to make these decisions,” said Rivera.
“Whether we agree or not, we can still accept a community as a subculture that has needs, ability to love people and be sincere,” said Ingram.